Newcastle Uni

Newcastle University upgrades to LED for a brighter and greener learning environment

Due to growing financial pressures, today’s universities are pushed to act as both educational establishments and scrupulous businesses to survive, let alone thrive, in a highly competitive global market. As a result, institutions have become ever more reliant on efficiency savings and alternative streams of revenue to balance the books and continually re-invest in their facilities.

As part of an ongoing refurbishment programme worth in the region of £1.8m, Newcastle University has transformed a key lecture hall in its main campus, into a unique and attractive conference space with the help of Dextra Lighting’s precision-engineered LED luminaires. The upgrade has not only improved the aesthetic appeal of the facility but has reduced the building’s energy and maintenance costs whilst lowering its carbon footprint.

How Dextra Lighting’s LED solutions can help

LED has had a game-changing effect on the financial and environmental sustainability of schools and universities around the world. In the UK alone, it is recognised as the number one energy-efficiency recommendation for the education sector by the Carbon Trust, helping countless institutions seize control of their overheads and minimise their carbon emissions.

Carefully designed LED systems with hand-picked high-quality products, can offer much more than the well-documented and expected energy and maintenance savings. Over the years, Dextra Lighting has refined its knowledge and expertise to better serve the educational sector and has developed a range of purpose-built, fully compliant LED products to keep schools and universities at the top of their game.

Sustainability & Green Credentials

The majority of Dextra Lighting’s products comfortably satisfy the energy-efficiency criteria of the UK’s Energy Technology List which in turn, ensures compliance to the ECA scheme offering 100% tax levy for the first year of purchase.

Choosing LED and intelligent lighting controls will also unlock financial opportunities reserved for low-carbon projects such as Salix’s Recycling fund which enables LED systems to be repaid in full via the energy savings made interest free. Universities in this case do not need to worry about the initial capital cost of the installation and can make immediate improvements to their facilities. High-quality LED lighting will also improve an institution’s performance in the government’s Carbon Reduction Commitment league table for further financial benefits.

The added perk to being environmentally conscious is how it makes you look to potential customers and business partners. Sustainable best practice nowadays attracts business as it reflects not only an effective management of resources (and waste see Dexreco for WEEE compliant disposal and recycling service) but social and ethical responsibility, both of which are synonymous with trust. LED lighting is an easy and direct way to demonstrate this dedication to sustainability and will help institutions to be distinguished for their efforts. Unsurprisingly, it has quickly become the norm for universities to achieve ISO 14000 certification – an international standard for environmental management, to demonstrate their commitment to the tackling climate change.

Build a stronger brand

Universities need to create a trustworthy image that will generate interest. Lighting plays a crucial role in how we perceive interior and exterior spaces and with the latest technological advancements, LED solutions can make a striking impact on the aesthetic appeal of an environment.

Due to the malleability of modern LED technology and access to the highest quality components, Dextra Lighting is able to manufacture LED luminaires that are extremely customisable for any setting, offering designers added flexibility with a range of options including: CRI levels, colour temperatures, outputs, optical designs and dimming controls that will allow establishments to stand out and make that crucial first impression last.

Installations can be tailored to enhance or integrate seamlessly into the building’s architecture so that they suit changes in décor and colour branding schemes whilst advanced lighting controls can support a variety of activities and events.

Compliance and well-being

Research has consistently shown that the quality, colour temperature, uniformity and intensity of light affect learning performance and if tweaked can be used to positively influences specific academic activities, from reading, visual communication and interactive learning. Official guidelines such as British Standards and CIBSE generally incorporate these principles, but with years of experience and knowledge gained in the sector, Dextra Lighting’s in-house design team goes the extra mile to ensure LED lighting schemes exceed compliance to achieve maximum visual clarity and comfort for a variety of learning environments.


Conveniently located in the centre of campus, the Barbara Strang Centre is a key asset for students and an attractive location for private events and conferences. It was crucial, therefore, that refurbishments would add as much value to the facilities as possible; an investment that would help generate more income for the university.

Amongst the centre’s meeting rooms and classrooms, a unique, wooden-tiered lecture theatre with a capacity of 120 was expected to generate the most business. In addition to brand-new flooring, furniture and the latest AV equipment, the hall was set to receive a complete lighting upgrade.

As the previous fluorescent tube lighting was producing poor light levels and uneven coverage – a point-for-point replacement was required above the seating area and new luminaries were to be installed on the staircases and above the lectern.

Light levels were to be raised to CIBSE recommended lux levels, ideal for note taking and maximising visibility during presentations.

Flexibility was a key aspect of the design, as the lighting in both the audience and presentation areas needed to be controlled independently to support different functions and events. Dimmable luminaries would need to be adjusted from a digital control panel at the lectern as well as in other locations in the room.

User-friendly and accurate controls were essential, giving speakers and staff the ability to dim the lights or switch to different lighting configurations smoothly and quickly between the course of a lecture or event.

Entrances, exits and staircases were to be treated with utmost caution to ensure safe circulation of occupants at all times.

All the lighting requirements needed to be met to optimise visual communication whilst demonstrating a significant reductions in energy usage for a faster payback period and improved return on investment.

Beyond performance and efficiency however, the new installation needed to match the new furniture and dé
cor to help create an aesthetically appealing environment for visitors, students and staff to congregate in.


The Runway LED range – Seating area: Primary lighting

The Runway LED range was developed for projects that have both an architectural and practical focus. With an attractive slimline anodised aluminium construction, the luminaires offer a contemporary minimalist design that is adaptable to a variety of high-profile environments and is a popular choice for modern educational establishments.

Aesthetic appeal does not come at the price of performance however, as Runway luminaires make the most of the latest LM80-verified Lumileds LED source with a high-transmission diffuser offering up to 90% transmission, offering high LORs and an efficiency of up to 116 Llm/W depending on output. Installations can therefore offer the same or improved performance in terms of light intensity and quality compared to fluorescent or HID equivalents, with projected reductions of at least 60% reduction in energy consumption. The durability and reliability of LED also eliminates the costs of frequently replacing failed, broken or depreciating lamps as required for fluorescent or HID systems.

From this family of products, the Runway Surface/Suspended standalone luminaire was selected for a point-for-point replacement of the lecture theatre’s old fluorescent tube lighting. In addition to surface mounting and suspension, the versatile luminaire can also be supplied with gear trays of different sizes (500mm, 1000 and 1500mm) with practical quick-release clips to facilitate mounting onto trunking systems, making it suitable to a wide variety of ceiling types. Using the appropriate installation kits provided, the luminaires were quickly and easily installed in the hall’s existing trunking system at a lower cost for the university.

Versatility runs at the core of this product range as luminaires can be customised with options including: a wide range of output packages from 871llm to 4244llm across different lengths, two optic designs, bi-directional distribution and black or white finishes, ensuring each scheme meets all performance and aesthetic requirements with precision.

From these options, a 3108llm version was installed to provide the recommended 500lux and uniform coverage throughout the hall using the original luminaire spacings.

To support note-taking, reading, writing, presentations and increase visibility between audience and speaker, light quality also needed to be carefully attended to. For this reason, the luminaire selected makes use of a high-efficiency mid-output LED chip board combined with a high-transmission diffuser with an optional micro-prism insert to provide glare control even at higher light outputs. This BSEN 12464 glare compliant version was installed to provide the desired light level whilst abiding to required BSEN 12464 3000 candela glare limit and UGR (Unified Glare Ratio) 19, maximising visual clarity and comfort for a range of academic and corporate events.

Runway LED luminaires are designed to provide maximum flexibility in terms of lighting control offering compatibility to the majority of mainstream analogue and digital dimming functions and a range of sensors from Dexsor’s Reacta range. A White Tunable function is also available, allowing the colour temperature of the light source to be adjusted to create different atmospheres to suit a range of scenarios and applications. To learn more about the advantages of tuneable LED lighting click here.

To cater for the needs of the lecture hall, DALI dimmable luminaires were provided which were networked to a main control panel accessible from the lectern. The digitally addressable system now allows users to accurately adjust the lighting parameters of set groups of luminaires for different effects and purposes, allowing for example, light levels of the audience and display areas to be changed separately when projectors are in use. Manual switches were also installed in strategic locations around the room to provide

Halobay – Presentation Area

With a spun aluminium housing and dished high-transmission opal diffuser, the Halobay produces an elegant luminous halo which has made it an attractive feature for high-end retail and corporate settings. The luminaire’s aesthetic appeal, like many of Dextra Lighting and Dexretail’s products, is accompanied by the premium performance and energy-efficiency required for high-specification lighting schemes.

The luminaire’s circular balanced design and centralised control gear makes it suitable for single-point suspension, allowing for quick and easy replacement of traditional HID suspended fittings by avoiding the time and costs needed to modify the existing infrastructure. A single luminaire was installed at the centre of the presentation area, making it an appealing architectural focal point in the room.

The versatile Halobay can be customised with output packages ranging from 10,320 to 23,405llm and two diffuser types: Opal, for a wider light distribution or Clear With Lens, to minimise glare, making it adaptable to a wide range of applications.

Although a fixed output version was provided for the purposes of this project, the luminaire is available with DSI, DALI, Switch Dimming and HFR Analogue dimming functions to suit a variety of lighting control requirements.

Duet LED – Main stairway, entrances and exits

The Duet LED is designed for maximum versatility. The luminaire can be surface mounted, suspended individually or continuously run to suit almost any ceiling type, mounting height and other site requirements. It is available in 1200mm or 1500mm lengths and lumen outputs of between 2188llm and 4360llm, allowing luminaires to be configured in the best possible layout for uniform light coverage, efficiency and architectural integration.

Its balanced design and central cable entry-point allows additional flexibility and ease for installation on either trunking, conduit, 4 point or 2 point Y suspension. For continuous run applications, blind units of various sizes can be supplied to create the most effective layout for the designated area. BSEN 12464 compliant versions are also available for areas where VDUs are in use, and to create comfortable and stimulating lighting conditions for academic or office environments.

The Duet LED’s steel powder-painted white housing and TPA Satine blend diffuser with injection moulded polycarbonate end caps, combine to create an aesthetically pleasing minimalist design matching the hall’s new décor and the rest of the installation.

Standard, self-test and auto-test emergency functions, as well as all HFR, Switch Dim, DSI and DALI dimming variants are available for this product (White Tunable versions are now available upon request). For further energy savings, the luminaire can also be supplied with an integral DSI passive infrared sensor for daylight regulation, presence detection and bright-out functions, which can be programmed from ground level via the user-friendly REA-AP remote control.


All products featured in this project are available with integral 3-hour emergency lighting. Emergency options include standard, self-test or auto-test, each of which satisfy all relevant regulations. The advantage of self-test versions is that they incorporate technology which allows each luminaire to carry out periodic emergency lighting tests in compliance with BS5266 regulations. Any fault in the system is signalled by a LED indicator. The auto-test however, takes automatic testing the next level by allowing entire networks of luminaires to be monitored via a single digital interface, which produces status reports on faults, performance and battery life of each luminaire. The added cost of these automatic systems is significantly outweighed by the savings made on manual testing equipment and labour. By avoiding the installation of standalone units around the site, integral emergency lighting can lower overall installation costs for institutions wary of their budget constraints, without compromising the safety of students, staff and visitors.

(+44) 01747 858100
(+44) 01747 858100